Monday, December 13, 2010


I don't know if any of you have shopped or sold clothing/accessories at a consignment store, but I highly recommend you doing so! In our area there are several designer/high-end consignment stores that sell really nice things. Remember that cocktail dress that you paid $100 for and it's been hanging in closet ever since? Take it to consignment  and make some of your money back. I can't tell you how many times I've taken loads of clothes, shoes, handbags, etc to Goodwill just because I wanted it out of my closet.

Along one of my favorite streets in Old Town, VA you'll find a great little consignment store called Mint Condition. You have to make an appointment to bring in items and they do have a 15 item limit, but it's definitely worth it. I have purchased several things from this store which is exactly why I was encouraged to take some of my things there. Back in August I took 15 items and they kept between 8 and 10 of them (they actually didn't take 2 pairs of Seven jeans which I couldn't understand at all) but overall they took more than expected. They keep your items for close to 3 months and if they don't sell then they're donated, or you have the option to come back and pick them up.

I actually had completely forgotten about my clothes until this past Saturday. I mainly wanted to visit the store to see what they had in stock but then I remembered I had a check to pick up. I had no idea what had sold or what kind of profit I would make but I was pleasantly surprised when the girl behind the counter told me they owed me a check for $83.00 Not too shabby! While I was waiting on my check I decided to take a look around the store and of course I found something. Check this out:

J.Crew Pencil Skirt

Double-serge pencil skirt
First let me say that I've admired this skirt all season long. I've actually been looking for a camel colored wool pencil skirt but there are none to be found. I came across this particular skirt at J.Crew and really liked it but I thought $118.00 was a little on the pricey side....even their sale price of $98.00 is too much in my opinion.

So you can only imagine how excited I was to spot it on the rack at Mint Condition! I didn't even want to look at the size because I knew there was no way it would be the size I needed....just my luck. But believe it or not, it was my size! Better yet, guess how much it cost? $38.00!!!! That is $80.00 less than the full price and $60.00 less than the sale price. Now that's what I call a bargain.

Such a successful shopping day! I scored a skirt that I've been admiring for months for a steal and I got paid for clothes that otherwise would have been given away.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Favorite Things

I'm sure most of you have tuned in from year to year to see Oprah's Favorite Things. I absolutely love Oprah's show and this particular one always tops my list. It's fun to see the things she loves (I guess it's more like the things she's paid to love), but whatever the case it's always exciting.

A very good friend of mine, Jana, gave me a great idea a few weeks ago for my blog. She said it would be neat to feature my favorite things along with other family and friends. It's always fun to see the things that other people say they can't live without and you never could make a great Christmas present!

Since Jana was the one who recommended this idea I am going to start with a list of her favorite things. I'm still working on my list so I'll get it up soon. Please send your list of favorite things to share!

Jana's Favorite Things:

1. Ugg Slippers (I don't think I could live without mine either!)

Dakota Slipper
 2. Marleny, Jana's cleaning lady. If you're in the DC/NOVA area and are looking for someone that comes highly recommended let me know.

3. Baby Wise

Baby Wise Book

 4. Tempur-Pedic Mattress

Tempur-Pedic Mattress

5. Pottery Barn Blanket

Chunky Ribbed Throw

6. Super Solano Hair Dryer

Super Solano Professional Hair Dryer
 7. Cheryl's Cut-out Cookies

Buttercream Frosted Holiday Cut-out Cookies
8. BOB Stroller

9. Kiehl's Hand Salve

Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
 10. Keurig Platinum Brewer
Keurig Platinum Brewing System

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cocktails: Peppermint Martini

I had a peppermint martini for the first time at a Christmas party Saturday night and it was delicious!! Give this one a try over the weekend.

Peppermint Martini


2 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur
1 oz. Peppermint Schnapps
(Optional: 1oz. cream)
Mini candy canes (whole and/or crushed)

For a festive garnish, dip rim of martini glasses in corn syrup (or vodka, or water) then in crushed candy canes. In a martini shaker, combine vodka, Godiva liqueur and Schnapps with ice. Shake and strain into martini glasses.  Serve with a mini candy cane on the side.


Cookbook: Sweets

Tis the season for sweets! Here are two recipes that you should definitely try this holiday season.

Mock Apple Pie

My mother-in-law first told me about this pie. It's a pie that tastes just like an apple pie but doesn't have one single apple in it! When she first explained it to me I thought that there was no way in this world it could taste like an apple pie. Even Chris said it was good, so I decided to give it a try over Thanksgiving.

2 refrigerator pie crusts for a 9" pie pan
36 Ritz crackers coarsely broken
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons of cream of tartar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place one pie crust in the pie pan. Place the crackers in the crust.

In a saucepan, over high heat, heat the water, sugar, cream of tartar to a boil.

Pour the syrup over the crackers. Dot with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Place the remaining pie crust over the pie. Trim, seal and flute the edges. Slit the top several times to allow steam to escape.

Bake at 425 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until crust is crisp and golden. Make sure you let the pie cool completely before eating.

*The top of my pie browned quickly, as you can see, so I covered with a piece of foil until it had finished baking.

The story behind the pie-

I can't explain it, but somehow, someway the combination of ingredients makes this taste just like an apple pie. The only thing you may notice missing are the actual apple slices you find in a regular pie. It is very sweet, so if you aren't a fan of super sweet sweets, then this isn't for you.

My Mom was the only one in the house that knew the recipe. We decided we would give this pie the ultimate taste test by giving a slice to my two grandmothers, possibly two of the greatest cooks ever! If this apple pie was "good" according to their standards then boy do we have a winner! So sure enough I cut them both a slice and they went to town. They both commented on how good it was and hardly made a peep as they continued to eat. Meanwhile my Mom and I were dying laughing. After a few minutes one of my grandmothers asked what was wrong with us and could immediately tell we were up to something. I asked her how the apples tasted in the pie. She looked at me for a minute or two, looked at the pie, and then said "what are you up to?" I proceeded to tell her that there wasn't a single apple in the pie. She lifted her fork a little closer and said "oh yes there is....I see the apples and I taste them too, what are you talking about?"

As you can imagine, I couldn't stop laughing. My other grandmother had completely stopped eating at this point and was just staring at her slice of pie. I explained the recipe and neither one of them believed me. They both got up and walked over to inspect the entire pie and just commented back and forth to one another about how it couldn't possibly be. So, give it a try! I promise it does taste just like apple pie and your family and friends won't believe it.

Puppy Chow

This recipe also came courtesy of my mother-in-law (can you tell that she's a great cook?) This has become one of our favorite holiday snacks and I know it will be one of yours too.


9 cups of corn Chex Mix
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
Powdered Sugar

In a saucepan, melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter.

Pour the Chex Mix into the saucepan and gently fold into the chocolate.

Spoon batches of the Chex Mix into a gallon size Ziploc bag and pour a generous amount of powdered sugar into the bag.

Shake until the Chex Mix is evenly coated in the sugar.

Place into your serving bowl. Continue this process until all of the Chex Mix has been coated in powdered sugar.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I love to make special treats for each holiday. For Halloween I made the chocolate bark and for Thanksgiving I've made the cutest candy turkey's you've ever seen. I first came across these little treats last Thanksgiving. My best friend since the 9th grade, Kim, and her lovely Mom, Mrs. Booker, come up with the best treats EVER! If you're fortunate enough to have a slice of Mrs. Booker's coconut pound cake then I promise you'll die a happy person. :) One of my favorite things to make at Christmas is a Mrs. Booker speciality too, but you'll have to wait for that one. So take a look at these gobbler's!

As you can see from the picture, they are very easy to make! I made a batch last night for my co-workers. Obviously they were a big hit.

Oreo cookies
Malt balls
Mini M&M's (the orig. recipe called for red hots but I couldn't find them anywhere)
Candy corn
Chocolate icing

Twist apart the Oreos. Place a dollop of chocolate icing on the bottom of a malt ball and place it on the Oreo with icing. 

Spread a layer of chocolate icing on the second half of the Oreo and place three candy corns along the top. I placed a little icing along the bottom of the cookie to help it act as glue when placed behind the malt ball.

Place the Oreo, standing up, behind the malt ball. Be careful and do not push hard because the Oreo will snap in half!

Place a dollop of chocolate icing on your mini M&M and place it as the nose of the turkey. Now your turkey is ready to eat!

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Black Friday

In my opinion Black Friday should be considered a holiday. I know there are many people who cringe at the thought of this particular day and you couldn't pay enough money to get out in the middle of all the craziness. Not me!! You couldn't pay me to stay home. It's quite possibly my 4th favorite day of the year after Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween of course.

I love to shop, especially when it comes to a bargain! I'm great at finding a deal, ask any of my family and friends. I rarely pay full price for items. Besides investing in a good pair of shoes, jeans, or a handbag I always wait to find things on sale. Marshalls and Home Goods are like heaven because of all the great deals you can find. I will confess that I have to be in a particular mood to go to some of these stores because you have to dig through the racks and comb the aisles to find the best things. But it is so much fun!

Back to my comment yesterday; I blame this obsession with shopping, clothes, shoes, handbags, etc all on my Grandmother and Mother. We're all cut from the same cloth. I've learned all my skills from them and I'm so proud of it too! What I would do to be a personal shopper for someone. :)

So back to Black Friday. I cannot wait for the newspaper to arrive on Thanksgiving morning. One of my favorite things to do on Thanksgiving morning is sit in my PJ's with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV and flip through all the advertisements. Forget looking at stuff online, I like the advertisements! I usually look through all them and place the keepers aside. Then I go back through a second time and start making my list.

As many of you sleep in late on Friday morning, recovering from all the wonderful food and wine you've had the day before, my Mom and I will be waking up at the crack of dawn and hitting the pavement. We put on our Christmas music, hop in the jolly green suburban and off we go! I'm so excited just thinking about it I could jump up and down. Most people out and about are happy and festive, all the stores have their decorations up, the music is playing and it's officially time for Christmas! What's not to love about this time of year? There is family, friends, parties, food, drinks, music, decorations, and presents. It's the most wonderful time of the year.

 If you're going to make the leap with me next Friday here are a few tips:

1. Have a strategy. You better believe if you're on the hunt for any electronic you need to be in line EARLY. A lot of stores are going to hand out vouchers for certain items before the they even open. So if you're serious about getting a certain item, you better be serious about waking up very, very early (Target opens at 4:00a.m).

2. Run don't walk. Once again, if you're going for electronics and don't get a voucher before the store opens, you better run to the back of the store. Things will go quickly so don't lollygag around.

3. The mall is a completely different story. A lot of stores like J.Crew, Banana, Belk, and other clothing stores will only run special discounts until 11:00a.m., or if you're lucky 12:00p.m. Trust me, it's worth taking advantage of these offers too. Stores may not advertise these specials, but always look in the newspaper, check online, or just call the store. If you wait past lunch time to go to the mall then you're probably going to be too late for the best discounts.

4. Eat breakfast!! Once you get going it's hard to stop. You will wear yourself down and get a headache if you don't eat something. Grab a bagel, doughnut,  or cereal bar but just make sure you get something in your stomach.

5. If you buy large ticket items and aren't too far from home, take them home! It's not good to leave items in your car throughout the day. Folks comb the parking lots and break into people's cars because they know that this is one the busiest shopping days of the year. So be very careful with what you leave in your car.

6. Make sure everyone in your party has their cell phone. It's easy to get separated in all the madness or you may decide it's best to divide and conquer. Either way, make sure you have a way to get back in touch with each other.

7. Have fun! I love buying gifts for my family and friends, and it's even better when you can save some money. Take a deep breath and go for it. Here is a sneak peak at the deals store's are running: Black Friday Deals. If this is just too much for you to handle then don't forget about Cyber Monday (for the lazy folks....).

Happy Shopping!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Red suede pumps!!

Yes, I found them and they're on my feet right now. Thanks to my wonderful husband I now own the best looking pair of red suede pumps you've ever seen. I will have to admit that my feet are killing me right now, but WHO CARES! When your feet looks this good comfort does not all. I guess this just goes to show you how much I love shoes. I think I'm obsessed, and I blame this 100% on my Grandmother and Mother.

So here's how the story goes....

Ever since I wrote a post several weeks ago on fall shoe fashion I've been looking for a pair of red suede pumps. The ones I mentioned in my post were from J.Crew; however, I refused to pay $228 for a pair of pumps. So my search begun and I was falling short. I honestly couldn't find a pair, that is until I ventured to this little place called New York City....

After spending most of Saturday shopping, eating and drinking, Chris and I decided to head back to Ben's apartment to rest before dinner that evening. Once we got back I decided to venture out a little while on my own to check out a few of the boutiques close by. One of my last stops was at a store called Girl Cat.

When I walked in the store I immediately knew I was in trouble because it was sparsely stocked, aka EXPENSIVE! I didn't even make it to the back of the store before I stopped dead in my tracks when I spotted these:

Good gosh, are they not gorgeous? Of course being one of two people in the store the lady behind the counter noticed me eyeing the shoes and walked over to ask if I would like to try them on. In my head I was saying "no, no, not try them on because you'll fall in love." So of course I tried them on. They were gorgeous and I pranced around the store like I was seriously considering buying them. As I took them off I took a deep breath and asked how much they were. Lets just say that the J.Crew pumps were a bargain compared to these. I just smiled and told the sales lady that I would keep them in mind. Inevitably she tells me that the shoes are handmade in Peru and that only a few shoes in each size are ever made. I guess this explains the sparsely stocked store, but mainly I'm told it's to keep their line distinctive and one of a kind. I thanked the sweet lady for her assistance, took a business card and made my way out of the boutique back to Ben's apartment.

Upon my return Chris asked me if I found anything. I told him about the shoes but our conversation was relatively short and sweet. A few days after we were back in DC and one of Chris' co-workers emailed me to ask if I knew of any funky places in NYC that sold shoes. She's getting married in the next few months and wanted to find some "unique" shoes to wear. I was a little suspicious at first, but I knew she knew about our trip to NYC so it wasn't completely out of left field.

Only a few days later I came home from work and there in the middle of our bed was a box, wrapped in newspaper, ha-ha. I really had no clue what it was until I unwrapped it and saw the name on the shoe box. I was shocked! My first thought was that there was no way I could keep the shoes, they were too expensive. But....then I took them out of the box and tried them on!

So now I own a pair of designer shoes. I was truly scared to wear them to work they're so beautiful. I carried them in their individual plastic bags in my purse and once I got to work I slipped them on. I feel like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Maybe if I click my heels together something magical will happen. My only worry now is that I will start to think that I'm worthy of wearing these high-end, one-of-a-kind shoes. If that ends up happening, I only have Chris to blame.

As I mentioned earlier, they're a bit painful today. I've been told that since they're handmade the suede is tight and they will continue to stretch as I wear the shoes, or at least I hope so!

A special thank you goes out to my wonderful husband for my FABULOUS shoes! XOXO

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Things to live by

Lucky magazine's 10th Birthday issue features a great section on things to live by. Here are the items that definitely make my list:

1. Your bra straps can show; your underwear never should!
2. Self-tanner makes you look thinner and well rested.
3. Always apply powder with a brush. Even compact powder.
4. Shop for boots in August before they sell out- and you get the best price.
5. Always have at least one black-tie dress in your closet in case of last minute celebrating.
6. Looking for a dress when you actually need one (or any outfit for that matter) will rarely lead to a successful find.
7. Buy clothes that you'll wear on a Tuesday afternoon, not a Saturday night. Few people lead Saturday night lives....although sometimes I think it would be fun!
8. Black tights look great with open toe shoes (as long as the tights aren't sheer).
9. If something is expensive, leave it behind for 24 hours. If you're still obsessed with it the next day, buy it!
10. Black will always be the new black.
11. It's good to have a pair of jeans hemmed for flats and another pair hemmed for heels.
12. Your waist isn't where you think it is. It's about three inches higher. The most flattering spot for a waisted dress to hit is just under the rib cage.
13. If shoes are only marginally comfortable when you try them on in the store you can be sure they'll be excruciating on the street.
14. The best and most comfortable flats are usually the cheapest.
15. When all else fails, a skinny cardigan can pull any look together.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I've participated in several recipe swaps over the years that have introduced me to many new tasty dishes. This dip recipe in particular has been a huge hit at showers, parties, tailgates, you name it. Every time I've made it for an event there hasn't been one bite remaining and someone always asks me for the recipe. It isn't the healthiest recipe in the world, but when you're at a party you aren't supposed to worry about calories, right?

Black Eyed Pea Dip
(I think I need to come up w/ a new name for it b/c I realize it doesn't sound very appetizing, but trust me on this one!)

One can rinsed black eyed peas
One can rinsed & roughly chopped artichoke hearts
One envelope hidden valley ranch dressing powdered mix
One cup mozzarella cheese
Few teaspoons parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 onion, chopped & sauteed

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl (the sauteed onion helps melt the cheese & incorporate the other ingredients). Pour into an oven proof baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. It's best served hot with Frito scoops (tortilla or pita chips will work too). Everyone will rave!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Deals & Steals

Maloles Georges Studs flats, $520 at Barneys


Carlos by Carlos Santana stud flats, $29.99 Marshalls

These shoes have quickly become some of my favorite flats for the season because they are so comfortable. However, I cannot tell you how many compliments I've received on them either! I even had several ladies in the boutiques throughout NYC stop me and ask about them. Of course I couldn't tell them I bought them from Marshalls! So, $500 or $30?

Either way, life is short. Buy the shoes.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Here's my vote

It's Election Day! I hope all of you voted. I sent my absentee ballot in several days ago so I enjoyed the day shopping online (although I didn't buy anything) and flipping through my favorite magazines. I guess I better enjoy this down time while I have it. Here are some things that caught my eye.

Jolly Gold Shorts
How great would these shorts look at a holiday party? Shorts are all the rage this season, if you haven't noticed. I've had several people question me about the look, but treat them just like a skirt and wear them with tights and you're golden! These particular ones are from ModCloth for $49.99.

Here is another pair I really like:

Flannel belted shorts

These particular ones are from Talbots....yes, Talbots! As I was reading through Instyle they had an article on Talbots and their new makeover. I was pleasantly surprised because Talbots, in my opinion, has always been kind of frumpy. Check out these other great Talbot's finds:

Silk rosette skirt

Sleeveless sequin sheath

Rose -print dress Total Mad Men- LOVE IT!!!

I also found these, which stopped me dead in my tracks. How unbelievably beautiful are these?!?! And, how hard to do you think it would be to convince Chris that I deserve one for Christmas, or my birthday!
Tiffany & Co.
Man, I should just stay away from Tiffany's website altogether. I honestly don't go to their website often but when I came across these babies I thought I should check them out since it had been awhile. Bad idea. Bad, bad, bad idea.

But, I do like the concept of the ring. As I was reading through the daily julie one afternoon I came across Kyle Anne Metals.

I love all of these rings and they're much more affordable!

It's time to start planning your party attire:

Shoshanna beaded one shoulder draped dress
I love the one shoulder dress. I really like this dress because it can be dressed up, as pictured above, or dressed down with a leather bomber jacket.